United Arab Emirates: Intellectual Property Rights In The Olympics

One of the major spectacular sporting events – the Olympics - is carried out once in four years where the finest athletes from all over the world participate. The game originated a long time back in ancient Greece. The exact reason for the origin of the games is not known. According to one of the legends, it is believed that it was founded in honor of Zeus- the father of Greek Gods and Goddesses. It is said that Zeus fought his father, Kronos to take control over the World, and was fought on the top of a mountain. Zeus won and consequently, a temple and a mighty statue were built in the valley in his honor, the valley which is called Olympia. Religious festivals began to be celebrated there as people came to that place to worship Zeus, eventually which led to the famous Olympic Games. One of the noted features of these games was the Olympic Truce whereby during the peace of the game to be maintained so that the athletes could travel safely to and from the event destination. The popularity of these games reached its peak in the 5th and 6th centuries which was later curbed by the then Roman Emperor.

It then took years for the game to come back. After the Greek War of Independence, the Nation wanted to bring back to life the lost splendor of the Olympics which was once their much-glorified event. Pierre de Coubertin set up the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894, which led to the First Modern Olympic Games in 1896. The IOC is a non-profit Organisation that collaborates with all the Parties of the Olympic Family making sure that the games are celebrated once every four years.

Intellectual Property Rights play a major role in these games in ensuring its growth and economic development thereby guaranteeing the flow of revenue used for the benefit of the games as well as the athletes participating. The role of Intellectual Property Rights starts years before the torch leaves Olympia in Greece towards the Host Country which lights up the Olympic Cauldron in the hosting Country. Point to be noted is that, at every lap of its journey, Intellectual Property is created and secured in one way or the other. As we all know sports offer not only entertainment but were also developed into a billion-dollar industry involving but not limited to – stadiums where the games are conducted – paraphernalia attached to it like the infrastructure, lighting, maintenance, etc, food & beverages, media so on and so forth where many are employed and billions invested. Hence Intellectual Property Rights of various stakeholders in the Olympic business have to be taken care of to make sure that there is good revenue and in turn, the games are carried out smoothly every time.

At the Olympics, the first stage is for the interested Cities and their respective National Olympic Committees to express their interest to host the event. Afterward, they also register their trademarks, for example, the logo of the Olympics 2020 to be held in Japan, for the one in Paris, 2024 and in Las Angeles in 2028 would already be registered. Likewise, also the domain would be registered at such early stages in order to prevent any type of abusive use of domain names. Cities who would take part in the formal candidature to the Olympics would have to submit to the IOC on how they intend to conduct the games and various other activities related to the games. It would contain a lot of literary & artistic works along with audiovisual content that is eligible for copyright protection. Also developed in the plan would be the mascots, the emblems, slogans, etc that could be registered as trademarks or industrial designs.

Once the candidature is successful, then the relevant event Organising Committee of the host Country would start the preparation to organize and conduct the event. There would be many Olympics marketing partners as well as media organizations to whom IOC would have granted exclusive rights to broadcast the games. They help in promoting the games and reaching them to the global audience, in addition, to support in various other fields like in the technical and operational areas. They are in turn given exclusive worldwide marketing rights, broadcasting rights, hospitality rights, rights to use the trademarks or the industrial designs, etc of the emblems, logos, mascots, slogans, etc.

The Olympic Torch is an important part of the event. The idea of such an Olympic Torch was inaugurated in the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam and the Modern Olympic torch relay was first instituted at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The Olympic Torch is specifically designed for each game and is protected by industrial design rights and in some case copyrights and patents. The flames then travel from Greece to the host country where the Olympic Cauldron is placed which is also protected by IP Rights.

The Olympics include a variety of artistic and cultural activities that depicts the heritage of the host country. A multitude of IP rights unites in this area to create such spectacular moments. In addition, there are also the rights of the broadcasters that allow them to air the show through various mediums. It is the effort of such Olympic rights-holding broadcasters who make the event the most views games in the world.

To conclude, a myriad of IP rights are involved in the Olympics from its start until its conclusion in one Country and then moves on to the next host. The revenue that is generated from the strategic use of the IP rights allows not only the continuous conduct of the games, and support to the athletes but also supports sports in developing nations. It is these resources that facilitate the staging of the games as well as fosters its worldwide development as well as to uphold the values of the Olympic Games.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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